New York City is a wasteland. More than eight million people are dead or worse...infected.
After their failed attempt to stop the spread of a virus that turns people into zombie-like, human-vampire hybrids, Reed Hennessy and his ragtag crew are scrambling to stay alive. To make matters worse, the human authorities are close to proving the existence of vampires and blaming them for the disaster in New York.
Their storm of trouble is already spinning out of control when an old enemy reappears to issue a challenge—an ultimatum that will mean certain death for at least one member of Reed’s group. With their mountain of problems growing exponentially and a host of enemies closing in, they flee for their lives, desperate for a miracle. Will they survive and avoid the world’s scrutiny, or will darkness prevail?
Lisa Justus' path to becoming an author took a circuitous route through the University of Waterloo where she earned a Bachelor of Mathematics, followed by jobs in quality assurance and technical writing at a high-tech company. With a keen interest in creative fiction, she wrote her first fantasy novel as part of NaNoWriMo as well as an early chapter book for her kids when they were younger. She went on to write the YA paranormal fantasy Darkness Trilogy (Welcome to the Darkness, Darkness Reigns, and Embrace the Darkness). Most recently, she has branched out into cookbooks with her release of Simple & Delicious Vegan Recipes: For Everyone Who Loves Great Food.
Prior to reading these books, I didn't think I was a fan of vampire novels... but LM Justus's first novel was so intriguing that I found myself eagerly awaiting the second in the series. Darkness Reigns proves to be an outstanding follow-up to the original book; maybe even better than the first! I settled back into the relationships and characters with ease, and the plot wound around in ways I couldn't have predicted. The reading level is a perfect match for any young adult, and I would recommend this series to any parents looking for a great gift for the young (or old) adult in their lives. Can't wait for book 3!
This is going to be a review of book one & two, I read them back to back for the blog tour for book two, and my brain is combining them and I feel like two reviews would just be a regurgitation of itself.
To start off I need to say that this series isn't terrible. It is a unique take on the whole vampire mytho and it takes a very interesting twist leading into book two. It almost as a very dystopian feel to it which makes you impulsive enough as a reader to dive into that second installment.
It also wasn't engaging as I wanted it to be after reading the synopsis for the two books. I am always eager and excited to read a new vampire story. They are my first love in the paranormal realm and I find that people just don't write enough great vampire stories. They were left behind for shifters of every design, and other brave new supernatural worlds.
As a whole, this story boasted a very 80's feel to its vampire world. I only say this because I felt like the author pulled from a few of their favorite vampire worlds, (the vampire 'queen' was a young girl with tight blonde curls and blue eyes, and she was very ruthless.) Can we say vampire claudia. As much as this story was dark, it was almost very campy at moments which brought me right back into the story and made me appreciate it in the same way I do The Lost Boys. It very much took from a subtle vibe from that time of the vampire, it could be just me, but that's how I felt.
The characters I went in and out of feeling anything for them. I struggled with empathy towards them because they very selfish moments and also unfeeling moments that made me turn my head and hope people died, which is never a good thing.
As a whole, I have to commend the authors efforts with this story. They took a chance and created something unique in a world full of sparkly vampires and I have to respect that. They were legit baddies and that makes me smile.
*I received a FREE copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours*
I’m always wary of middle books. More often than not they can’t stand on their own, and fail to hold my attention. In this case, Darkness Reigns was a solid middle book. Its plot was largely self contained, but by no means standalone. You definitely need to have read the first book, but I found that it wasn’t important that I couldn’t remember all of the details from it. Justus did a great job recapping the previous plot, without completely beating me over the head with it.
This book does suffer from the same quirks as the first book, but at least it’s consistent for the series. The POV is the hardest thing to get used to. Reed’s chapters are told in first person, while Sarah’s and Nathaniel’s are both third. It did throw me off a few times, but at least I knew what to expect. The group of characters was definitely more solid in this second book. There were a couple new ones, but mostly I was already on board with this bizarre crew. And, just as with the first book, the second half of the story was a lot stronger. It took a few chapters to get me hooked, but by the end of it, I was entirely worked up for the next book in the series.
The first book left off with an undead dilemma, and I was a little disappointed that this book didn’t deal more with that. Instead, it became a survival story, as the group tries to outrun an ancient vampire hell bent on revenge. It did give the story its own voice, as the characters have a new quest. I just feel like there is more to learn about what happened in New York. Overall, the Darkness Trilogy is growing on me, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!
A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I've read the first book in the Darkness Trilogy – Welcome to the Darkness, and really enjoyed it. Now that I've read the sequel Darkness Reigns, I'll have to say that between the two I've read so far, this one edges out Welcome to the Darkness as the one I liked better.
While the first book does introduce the main characters – Sarah, Reed, and Nathaniel, this second book goes into more character development. Of the three, I'll say that Nathaniel is probably my favorite, and that was true from the first book as well. Even so, this is a series that I've grown to really like all three main characters, and as a reader, I care about what happens to them as characters. I think of the three, the two that showed the most development in this book were Sarah and Nathaniel.
One of the things I really liked about this book along with the first is the structure of the book is set up so that we have triple perspectives of the events that unfold over the course of the novel. Each chapter is from the point of view of one of the three, either Reed, Sarah, or Nathaniel. This allowed me to really know what was going on in their minds, and to know what they were thinking and feeling and how they saw the events that were unfolding.
As far as the book itself, it picks up right where the first one left off when they were in New York City. What I can say is that while there was enough explanation as to what happens in the first novel, I recommend reading that one first simply because it sets up the characters and probably will make this second book make more sense.
I'm really looking forward to reading the conclusion to this trilogy, and I recommend this series to readers who like vampire novels, young adult fiction, and some paranormal romance as well. My rating is 4/5 platypires.
Continuing straight where ‘Welcome to the Darkness’ concludes, this follow-on novel follows in the same vein. This time the action moves away from New York to Montreal as the gang attempt to leave behind the devastation caused by the vampire King of New York.
I certainly found this book better than the first but still felt that there was more plot and character development needed. Once again I found myself distrusting the motives of key characters, such as the King of Montreal and hoped there was more betrayal than what was eventually offered. I think my imagination added to my enjoyment of this story because I hungered for that extra depth and I found it a shame that Justus couldn’t quite deliver on this score.
The novel’s blurb reminded me of zombie films like ’28 Days Later’ and ‘Resident Evil’ but there was minimal focus on what has happened to the citizens of New York. I was hoping this would be more pivotal to the plot but with the virus killing off the humans-turned-zombies in a matter of days, the author neatly puts this out of focus, instead moving forwards with Reed and Nathaniel’s quest of escaping from the Queen of San Jose’s threats.
There were some unexpected twists and turns in this story and I enjoyed following Sarah’s character, particularly in the last third of the book. As Reed gets used to being a vampire, it is clear that he still desires to be human again and this is what sets readers up for the final book in the trilogy.
This book was given another three stars because there was still opportunity for plot development. As this wasn’t quite there throughout the story, it became a very quick read to get through. I guess this makes it more ideal for the teenage/young adult readership and can imagine they would enjoy it more. But, from an adult perspective, I think this was an average read and good for a lazy afternoon.
This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
When we last saw our trio of heroes, now grown to five with at least one more reluctant than heroic, things had gone from bad to worse and now they need to get out of New York City before the hordes of former humans get to them. Reed and Nathaniel face even more difficulties as their vampire backs sport great big targets. Unfortunately for this little band, many of the survivors out there are no more trustworthy than the hybrids.
This is where I think Darkness Reigns slips just a little bit. These humans and vampires are remarkably trusting and almost innocent in their outlook, particularly when they approach a prison, and they don’t get smarter once they’re inside. The other aspect of the story that doesn’t quite work for me is the romance between Reed and Sarah. I started feeling uneasy about it in the first book and its credibility slides even more in Darkness Reigns with the problem lying in their ages. It’s not that I’m especially bothered by his being 17 as opposed to her 21 from a moral standpoint; rather, I’m too aware that the huge majority of girls mature faster than boys and Sarah has managed to make it through the police academy so I just don’t feel the big connection between these two.
Putting all that aside, I still think this book is quite entertaining and I do appreciate that there are more twists and turns than in the first book. At times, there’s a feeling of “The Perils of Pauline”, adding to the fun as well as the darker side of things and I’m now looking forward to what might happen in Book Three.
Reed, Sarah and Nathaniel set out to escape New York after a virus has been leaked into the city's water supplier. The Book picks off from where book 1 finished. The three of them become 5 when Sophie (Sarah's sister) and Trudy (vampire hunter) joins them. They leave New York and head to Montreal where most of the second book is based. Running from authorities and the queen who is continuously hunting the rat tag crew down they find themselves in the protection of the Montreal King. In the end, he betrays them in ways they didn't see coming.
At times I did find myself wondering why the book wasn't focused on the virus (book 1) however I found myself enjoying this book a lot in the second half because it was more action packed and the characters tended to show more emotion, especially Nathaniel who is my favourite in the series.
All in all a great read. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in book 3 where the rag tag crew have set out on yet another adventure which I'm sure will bring more drama and action.
Loved reading the first book Welcome to the Darkness and love this one, Darkness Reigns, even more. Can't wait for the 3rd book in the trilogy, Embrace the Darkness. Reed and Sarah are main characters and have exciting lives with never ending things happening to them. They are aided by Nathaniel, a very likeable character that grows on you, unlike the creepy queen who is ruthless and cruel. New characters appear in this book and the story grows. Hard to put down and easy to read and understand. So...LM Justus, when is book 3 coming out?